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Red berry mite is a microscopic invertebrate that is a common cause of uneven ripening of blackberries.
Red berry mite damage on blackberry fruits
Red berry mite is a microscopic (<0.2mm) whitish mite that sucks sap from flower and fruit of blackberries, a common cause of uneven ripening. It does not affect other cane fruits.
Red berry mites overwinter under bud scales and become active on the foliage during the spring. At flowering time the mites move onto the flowers and developing fruits.
The first fruits to develop usually ripen fully but later fruits show increasingly patchy ripening, with some parts of the berries remaining hard and red or green. The patchy ripening is caused by the mites saliva and the damage is sometimes referred to as ‘red-berry’ disease.
There are no suitable pesticides available to home gardeners for control of the mite and so the damage has to be tolerated. Heavily affected canes can be cut to ground level as soon as the problem is noticed and binned (including council compost) or burnt. Canes with persistent problems of red berry mite are probably best replaced.
Partly ripened berries can be used for cooking or making jam or wine.
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